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Category: Tricks with prosthesis

Stabilizing rod-like item with a prosthetic hook [two ways]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stabilizing rod-like item with a prosthetic hook [two ways]; published June 23, 2016, 16:36; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6205.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Stabilizing rod-like item with a prosthetic hook [two ways]}}, month = {June},year = {2016}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=6205}}


There are basically two ways to stabilize a rod-like item (fork, knife, rod, etc) with a prosthetic hook.

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How to cut 3D origami using a prosthetic arm [1:1]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - How to cut 3D origami using a prosthetic arm [1:1]; published October 24, 2015, 21:40; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=5553.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - How to cut 3D origami using a prosthetic arm [1:1]}}, month = {October},year = {2015}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=5553}}


So the cold time of the year approaches here.

Obviously there is this book called "Horrorgami". Obviously I had to get it.

Paper Dandy's Horrorgami: 20 Gruesome Scenes to Cut and Fold

And of all patterns contained in it, I had to start making the "Werewolf" pattern.

alaindelonsmokes

Go figure.

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Photography as right below elbow amputee [technical tips]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Photography as right below elbow amputee [technical tips]; published May 30, 2014, 20:51; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=1075.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Photography as right below elbow amputee [technical tips]}}, month = {May},year = {2014}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=1075}}


I was surprised to see that (according to a recent news article [link]) an Otto Bock Michelangelo hand was required to reclaim one's role as photographer:

"This Michelangelo is quantum leaps ahead of anything I have ever been able to do before," Wigington said.

The hope is, with training, Wigington can reclaim his position as the family photographer.

(quoted from http://www.wthr.com/story/20111441/indianapolis-minister-first-to-get-revolutionary-prosthetic on Dec 13th 2012). 

It appears that in over some 20 years of being a right below elbow amputee, Dave Wigington has not been able to figure out how to use a camera well, swift, fast and proficiently.

It appears that in over some 20 years, one now requires a particular "bionic" hand to be a family photographer.

This is extraordinary.

See, it took me exactly a day or two after the amputation to figure out that my camera still worked the exact same way. That was before "bionic" prostheses came along.

So there is a big difference between my own experience and between Dave Wigington's experience.

Seeing that there are obvious differences in what people think they can or can not do, I tried to see where the problem might be.

From there, I will illustrate some ways of taking photos singlehandedly, with the left hand, and / or with my prosthetic arm. If Dave has problems, other people may find this instructive. Who knows.  Read More

Fixing / sewing up boot latch [tech]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Fixing / sewing up boot latch [tech]; published November 21, 2011, 04:42; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=510.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Fixing / sewing up boot latch [tech]}}, month = {November},year = {2011}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=510}}


I am able to tie shoe laces but since over ten years and for reasons of comfort and style, for economic reasons as well (these last rather long) I prefer boots over other shoes for everyday wear and tear.

A new pair that I got myself recently to replace a pair of boots that was worn out to the point of falling apart quite literally instantly got me into trouble - the latch on the back of the new right boot tore off. The fabric of the latch itself was fine - it appeared to be a problem of the seam that had come loose.

I had taken that boot to the local shoemaker for repair but it turned out that the cheap glue that dude was applying didn't do the trick after all. So between shipping the boot to the manufacturer for any inadequate amount of money and considering a discussion about glue with the shoemaker I decided to give a direct in-house repair some closer consideration.

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Manualization of the body and time and effort spent to implement it [options for people missing an upper extremity part]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Manualization of the body and time and effort spent to implement it [options for people missing an upper extremity part]; published September 11, 2011, 20:37; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=469.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Manualization of the body and time and effort spent to implement it [options for people missing an upper extremity part]}}, month = {September},year = {2011}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=469}}


If a part (or more parts) of upper extremities are missing, absent function can be replaced to a small degree.

Replacing at least some basic aspects of a hand's function with the rest of the body and immediate environment is what upper extremity amputees including myself do every day.

There are a few questions along the road, but other than that, "manualization of the rest of the body" as well as manualization of surrounding environment is what is going on. There are simply no other options and interestingly, problems are similarly in nature regardless of the type of solution one chooses.

When evaluating a prosthetic hand, when doing evaluation of a prosthetic arm or hook, when evaluating myoelectric or ""bionic"" prostheses such as iLimb, BeBionic or Michelangelo by Otto Bock, then this should be considered thoroughly.

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Typing and posture [simple functional anatomy]

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Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Typing and posture [simple functional anatomy]; published August 25, 2011, 17:26; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=476.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Typing and posture [simple functional anatomy]}}, month = {August},year = {2011}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=476}}


It has been alleged that typing is best done using a "bionic" prosthesis using an "extended finger". So I repost this observation [see post dating back to December 2009].

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Cutting meat using prosthetic body powered arm with hook or hand [ADL]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Cutting meat using prosthetic body powered arm with hook or hand [ADL]; published March 21, 2011, 01:03; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=387.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Cutting meat using prosthetic body powered arm with hook or hand [ADL]}}, month = {March},year = {2011}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=387}}


It is sometimes asked how this is done. There are many ways, including getting the waiter to get the cook to prepare it pre-sliced (my favorite lazy night out option). But no problem to get it done with the prosthesis.

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Competitive prosthetic action - compare movement and function II

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Competitive prosthetic action - compare movement and function II; published August 26, 2009, 04:13; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=220.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Competitive prosthetic action - compare movement and function II}}, month = {August},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=220}}


In 2018, a prosthetic hook will still be by far the best device for real work (Wolf Schweitzer, 2008).

After iLimb publicity (see here) as well as Michelangelo publicity (here) suggests a superior function of these products I find it helpful to give a more comprehensive side by side view of some "demo actions". Just a simple test of a hook will show you to be very careful when analyzing "performance".

Some comparisons are surprisingly unspectacular. Some are easily performed using almost any prosthesis and then may not count as specific highlight for a particular type of prosthesis.

So if you see a prosthetic hand "perform" - be careful before wasting too much money: try the same "performance" with other options. Be thorough in your evaluation and network with others before spending too much money. You could end up with a different procedure and a different product than initially thought.

I currently favor these parts for best performance:

  • MSM wrist 0.1rev (I find it far more stable than Otto Bock's)
  • Becker Lock Grip hand (allows for more natural grip than Otto Bock hand)
  • Otto Bock MovoHook 2Grip (in absence of a better competitive product)

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Which watch?

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Which watch?; published July 22, 2009, 11:24; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=207.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Which watch?}}, month = {July},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=207}}


I have issues regarding watches.

I will not be able to wear just about any wrist band as I have to be able to operate it using stump ot prosthesis. A heavy or large watch is not optimal as I tend to overuse my complete left arm anyway. And the watch should be reasonably water proof as the last thing I want to do is to take it off / put it on all the time. I do lots of sports and so luxury watches are not exactly what I will be buying.

Here is what works.

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Manipulating objects using Otto Bock MovoHook 2Grip P [pimped]

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Manipulating objects using Otto Bock MovoHook 2Grip P [pimped]; published April 13, 2009, 22:25; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=168.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Manipulating objects using Otto Bock MovoHook 2Grip P [pimped]}}, month = {April},year = {2009}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=168}}


2 Comments

Myoelectric prostheses sales are currently pushed by Otto Bock and many prosthetic technicians, their development is pushed by Otto Bock, DARPA and TouchBionics or others (check the RAPHAEL hand)- yet they are relatively slow and relatively unreliable, relatively loud and relatively heavy, and they are absolutely expensive if they are available at all. I also found that a typical myoelectric arm can be very uncomfortable, painful and cumbersome to wear. So there seems to be a lot of hysteria around this exciting looking science fiction - yet development cannot go in the right direction if acted out by people that lack insight.

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Slide into long sleeve with prosthetic hand covered with silicon glove

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Slide into long sleeve with prosthetic hand covered with silicon glove; published November 12, 2008, 16:03; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=137.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Slide into long sleeve with prosthetic hand covered with silicon glove}}, month = {November},year = {2008}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=137}}


Silicon gloves can be hard to slide into long sleeves as the silicon tends to stick to most fabrics. Grabbing a small cloth or napkin to cover the prosthetic glove does the trick.

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Competitive prosthetic action - compare movement and function

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Competitive prosthetic action - compare movement and function; published September 21, 2008, 13:01; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=46.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Competitive prosthetic action - compare movement and function}}, month = {September},year = {2008}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=46}}


11 Comments

Current new developments in hand prosthetics are the iLimb (TouchBionics) and the Michelangelo hand (Otto Bock). Both are termed bionic hands. As these could be seen as very attractive, emotionally appealing and extremely expensive, they are a fascinating subject to examine.

This post also precedes some of my more refined attempts at defining, describing, specifying, evaluating and actually comparing prosthetic performance, such as a variation on the Carroll test.

One thing that amazes me is the obvious discrepancy between the feelings of the wearer (inside) and the feelings of the person watching the wearer (outside): when watching someone else wearing it from the outside, the iLimb - as I felt - looked artificial, stiff, slow, performed extremely loudly and to me appeared to be rather annoying, just as a car with a defective exhaust when seeing someone else wear it. Yet, operating it myself sucked me into a dream world of simulated hand function that I viewed entirely differently and it put a wide smile on my face. Seeing someone else smile at their own iLimb and witnessing the obvious discrepancy between its artificial appearance, slow and very restricted functionality and noisiness on one hand, and the smile it put on the wearer on the other hand, then completed a rather distressing experience to me.

It is ultimately the question why am I wearing a prosthesis? Is it merely a highly priced conversation piece, an item to wrap oral history around, a think to talk about such as the iLimb that is a the centerpiece of a large series of mostly social parading of the prosthetic object? Would I spend a staggering 78'000 CHF of my own money just to get someone tap my shoulder in a grocery store saying, "congratulations to your fine prosthesis, one can hardly see at all that it is an artificial limb"? See how much is that in dollars! I wear a prosthesis to show to others that I am willing to fake having a hand, I wear a prosthesis for sheer functionality. I'd wear one as fashion statement but for that, a self-funded 78'000 CHF hand necessarily must combine computing and programming options of a top-of-the-line workstation (huge one available for 15'000 CHF), the mechanical properties of a luxury class car (50'000 CHF), the stability and ease of handling of a Bosch drill hammer (1'000 CHF) *and* the battery or energy functionality as well as versatile electronics of a top-of-the-line laptop (available for 8'000 CHF). And we start off with a head start for good old mechanics here - the hook relaxes people as they see within a mile against the wind that I am missing a part, that there's a standard item to replace some of it, and it is also one reliable piece of hardware (even though we had to work on that both for the wrist and the hook).

The fluency and immediacy of available motion is an extremely important feature for my hook or mechanical hand. An experienced physiotherapist told me to go for a body powered prosthesis if only for that reasons - and stick with it for a couple of years. He said that only then will I grow into using it so much that I will really be able to rely on its advantages. The argument of fluency and immediacy becomes apparent when comparing the iLimb in its respective appearances on YouTube, and my hook in the following videos. And recently I realized that one cannot thoroughly get accustomed to such a prosthetic setup without letting it grow on oneself, without allowing oneself to naturally incorporate its function into one's life.

In response to TouchBionics "get a grip on functionality" demo videos http://www.touchbionics.com/professionals.php?pageid=44&section=5 I recorded similar activities using the Otto Bock MovoHook 2Grip for 1:1 comparison. My evaluation  bases on my current personal requirements as a right below elbow amputee.

Recently, detailed accounts of iLimb usage by Darin Sargent (see: theadventuresoftheilimb.wordpress.com) highlight activities such as reading a newspaper or working having it on in the kitchen. As I see it, Darin Sargent really and ultimately tells us throughout his extensive online video collection that basically he was real lucky to get insurance to pay for the iLimb (he did not pay 78'000 CHF) but it appears as if the product was never formally evaluated by his insurance for function or performance.

As his website articles imply, he uses it more as a social prop than as a functional replacement. And we learn that his insurance paid for it. That is like learning that they just finished a gold toilet for the king. Maybe that is nice for the king - but I really see no further conclusion to be made. His website implies that Darin has no idea how to conduct a technical evaluation and he even uses words that indicate that he looks down on people that go down into the pits and actually have to rely on their prostheses for work. If he despises manual labor and the big problems that come with evaluating prostheses for that purpose he has every right to say so. If he looks down on people that wear hooks for performance and hands for appearance I don't care - maybe that's what he has to do.

So the overall impression I get is that yet another high ranking army officer / priest / motivational speaker / retired person walking around with a hugely expensive dummy hand prop is not a very good ambassador for prosthetic manual dexterity. Just to bring that question to the point.

Price definitely plays a role in prosthetics. So it is relevant to note that my current setup (Otto Bock parts, two MovoHook 2Grip 10A80 hooks, one System hand voluntary opening, cable controlled socket with rapid swap mechanism, all parts pimped for optimal performance) costs a mere fraction of a prosthesis featuring the iLimb by TouchBionics.

Comparison of the prices for terminal devices (iLimb hand wiothout prosthetics: around 50'000 CHF (not covered by insurance); Otto Bock system hand: about 800 CHF; Otto Bock hook: about 1'200 CHF - prosthetic arm with iLimb hand: around 78'000 CHF, prosthetic arm using body powered technology: around 6'000 CHF) shows that we are dealing with extreme differences in prosthetic cost.

Now, I like to be able to smoothly and without much technological overhead work through technical situations by wearing a contextually intelligent solution on my arm stump.That does not mean that I only and exclusively wear a hook? No!

  • I like the constant and reliable availability of function (without recharging or additional weight) of the hook. Using it for cutting, grinding, working with aggressive solvents, the hook as many times proven technical advantage over any other replacement as all it takes is a scrub, disinfectant, ultrasound cleaning and we are back on track. At intervals, I get the silicon covers replaced but these are really cheap parts.
  • I like to wear the Otto Bock system hand for certain situations and have that reliable too. And very good looking.
  • Currently I am working on an art project as well.

As TouchBionics advertise the possibility to actually conduct a number of manipulations using their iLimb I found it relevant to offer a 1:1 comparison to this type of functionality. It may help to identify areas of improvement, it may help to adjust unrealistic expectations, and it may help to illustrate functionality. Images or pictures, videos or short films just provide a better illustration than mere words saying 'been there, done that'. - And then, most of these are situations that are just a bit harder to do with the amputation stump alone, they may take more time without prosthesis, or risk getting the stump injured.

Taking off wrist watch

I can remove my wrist watch using the stump or the hook but also using the Otto Bock Voluntary Opening System Hand. I am now wearing a Regal Prosthetics silicon glove that features great appearance and sturdy finger tips. Key to getting a wrist watch off fast is finding out how to best twiddle the lock. Here, I slide the plastic band through the lock and then pull a bit to get the lock pin out of the hole. Then I use an oblique pull trick for the wrist band to flip the pin over to the other side so it does not lock again (video: 0:10 to 0:15 seconds). All in all I get the wrist watch off in just under 20 seconds and that is in slow demo mode and with a mechanical prosthetic hand. Always remember: if you are after realistic looks, go for a good silicone glove (regardless of what you wear underneath); if you are after smooth, silent and immediate action, get cable control (regardless of the terminal device); if you need precise and full force grip or push/pull action, get a hook and if you want to look anthropomorphic get a mechanical hand.

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Type on computer keyboard using Otto Bock voluntary opening system hand

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Type on computer keyboard using Otto Bock voluntary opening system hand; published July 22, 2008, 23:58; URL: https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=27.

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1569177456, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{Technical Below Elbow Amputee Issues - Type on computer keyboard using Otto Bock voluntary opening system hand}}, month = {July},year = {2008}, url = {https://www.swisswuff.ch/tech/?p=27}}


Someone once posted that they'd give up computers if they'd lose a hand. I wouldn't do that. - I can type with the stump, with a special stump sock, with the hook - and even with my prosthetic hand (Otto Bock system hand, voluntary opening), typing is no issue.
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